Bonanza Drilling Rig 1 at Grounded Lithium’s first targeted lithium well, drilled near Coleville in late July. Grounded Lithium

Gregg Smith, president and CEO, and Greg Phaneuf, VP finance and CFO, are the founders of Grounded Lithium Corp. Pipeline Online spoke to them via email in early August, and they responded Aug. 24.

You can read Part 1 here.

Pipeline Online: Your SEDAR filing as well as previous interviews refer to re-entries as a possibility. What do you mean by this? Will you be doing some in your initial phases?

Phaneuf: Yes, further to above, this is a distinct possibility. Where GLC can reduce the capital requirements and achieve safe, environmentally responsible operations, we will certainly consider re-entries. That just makes good business sense and represents a win-win for lithium producers and the current owners of the oil and gas wells. We convert the well for an energy-transition purpose and the asset retirement obligation for the oil and gas company is removed from their books. That liability will transfer over to companies like GLC but it essentially extends the useful life of the well.

Pipeline Online: Its well known that Saskatchewan oil wells eventually water out to 99 per cent water or so. But that’s really 99 per cent brine, and some of those brines may contain lithium. Are you seeking to process those brines?

Smith: The oil and gas produced in the greater Kindersley area comes from horizons separate from the zone we are pursuing. Those brines produced by the oil producers are not rich in lithium. Hence there are fewer wells for us to use from the oil and gas industry. We have fewer old wells to work with, but we do not need to worry about separating oil from our brines. Despite the lack of oil in this zone, there are some wells still to work with. Its ironic in the sense as an oil and gas producer that you did not want to find purely water or water out a well but in this case, you want to find water, specifically briny water and lots of it!! As mentioned, some existing oil and gas wells will be good candidates for GLC to re-enter and convert to producers.

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Pipeline Online: What does this mean with regards to extending the lives of wells that are otherwise inactive or will soon be abandoned? If you can reactivate these wells for lithium development, what does that mean operationally? Financially? Environmentally?

Phaneuf: Our plan, producing wells would have an extensive life. From an operational point of view which ties directly to the economics, our capital efficiency in developing lithium resources would directionally improve. In turn, our return on capital employed (ROCE) would show stronger results as compared to drilling all new wells. We are keenly focused on investor returns and where we can, we will certainly use existing wells to maximize returns.

From an environmental perspective, the extension of the well pushes the need to reclaim the well and surrounding area far into the future. The reclamation liability does not disappear, and we would be a responsible operator to properly take care of at that through time. We do help our colleagues and friends in the oil and gas world as now that liability moves from their books and onto our books. More broadly on the environmental file, energy transition players directly address climate emission targets and enhance the quality of life for our global community.

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Pipeline Online: Grounded has said it intends on using Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) for its commercialization. But are there commercially available extraction processes for this sort of lithium development yet? You can get a gas compressor, separator or water handling skid pretty much anywhere, but can you get a lithium extraction skid?

Smith: DLE has been known and used in other industries for decades. The technology itself is proven. Technology companies and engineering firms are focused on making the process work on a larger commercial scale. This clearly works in the lab on small scale and these companies are expanding the technology by increasing the size of the facilities. With some 50-70 companies all pursuing their unique methods of DLE to make it commercial, we can enjoy the fruits of those their labours and select those that will eventually win the race in that very crowded space to use in our project. Our model is to build 5,000 tonne/yr modules so the actual size of the vessels in a commercial plant are more or less off the shelf. No special design, logistics, etc. would be needed to source, move and construct at site.

Pipeline Online: What are the technical hurdles you will need to overcome?

Phaneuf: The technical hurdles are those mainly of the commercialization of DLE or some other suitable technology. From an extraction perspective, we have a good handle on how the wells need to be designed and operated to achieve the aforementioned key criteria of deliverability.

 

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Grounded Lithium, Part 1: How does a former Sask Oilman of the Year go looking for lithium?

Grounded Lithium just drilled its first targeted lithium well in Saskatchewan, only the second of its type in this province

Royal Helium found high concentrations of lithium in its Climax-1 well

 

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  • 0025 Kendalls
  • 0026 Buffalo Potash Quinton Salt
  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
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  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
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